Woolford and Agar explain Leeming and Golding departures as pair prepare to debut against former club

Coaches Simon Woolford and Richard Agar have praised Kruise Leeming and Ashton Golding respectively as the pair prepare to debut for their new clubs against their former side.

The duo swapped West Yorkshire clubs in the off-season, with Leeming heading to the Rhinos and Golding moving the other way.

Coincidentally, neither have yet to play for their new clubs after suffering injuries in the off-season. However, both are in contention to feature in Sunday’s return game, adding extra spice to the contest.

But both Woolford and Agar praised their former players ahead of the match.

Woolford opened up why Leeming ultimately left the Giants, but expressed his belief in the Swaziland-born hooker.

“I wish nothing but good thing for Kruise,” Woolford said.

“He’s a good kid and a good person. We had two hookers here that I was happy to share the hooking roles with but Kruise wanted to be an 80-minute type player and he was frustrated.

“I wish him well, there’s no bad blood there certainly from my point of view. I’ve told Kruise a number of times he can play for England, there’s no doubt about it.

“Kruise will want to play well, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want Kruise to have a quiet game but I know his personality, he’s going to want to play well but we have to put our defensive cap on and be ready for it.”

Meanwhile, Agar also discussed the reasons behind Golding’s departure from Headingley.

“It’s probably important with Ashton to say how much he’s respected in our squad and not just our squad, but our club.

“As a coach, I would be perfectly happy to have Ashton in our squad and if it didn’t work out for him at Huddersfield I’d take him back no problem because he’s such a wonderful professional and a good player.

“We were in a situation where we had two fullbacks and it’s probably fair to say that Jack Walker nudged his way in front of Ashton over a period of time. There was a bit of a salary cap business decision letting Ashton look around but at the same time he played a full season with Featherstone and was one of the best players in the Championship, he needed to go and be a first-grade player or at least test himself.

“If we couldn’t give him that opportunity over a period of time, he’s probably too good to be sat outside of that top 17 every week.

“He went with our best wishes and we said if it didn’t quite work out he’s the sort of player you’d love to have in the camp. He’s just such a great kid, great team-player and wonderful person to have around the joint.”